Gel Press Fun with Technique Junkies Stamps
I know, I know, I’m late to the Gel Press party, but I got there eventually! When I was going to university for my degree, some of my favorite classes were the printmaking ones. I did mostly intaglio printing, but we also did mono printing then on acrylic plates, but these fabulous gel plates had not yet been invented. I finally decided after watching some of my favorite card makers and designers create stunning things with these plates that I had to jump in and get my feet wet.
So I watched like ten-hundred-bajillionty-leven videos. In fact, I run them on one of my monitors while I am working with the sound off just because I don’t really need to listen to the talking to get the gist of what is going on, and while not every video has given me something new or even useful, they made me a lot more comfortable with the process. I learned that, like anything, it was possible to create really gorgeous stuff, but on the other hand the potential for creating incredibly hideous prints is also there, although it’s really a subjective thing. Something I might consider ugly is someone else’s beautiful.
The nice thing about gel printing is that you don’t sit down and create “a print” with a gel plate. You pull multiple prints in a single session, and some of those will be fab and some not so fab and some you just want to throw in the circular file cabinet immediately. And even better, you can keep playing with a print, adding ink, paint, marker, etc, etc, until you get something you love. Or you can just save the effort and can the worst of it. It’s only paper, right? There are a number of companies who make the plates, including Ranger, Gelli Arts, and the one I used, Gel Press.
Also, chances are you have a lot of the supplies you would use with a gel plate already, since you can use just about any acrylic paint including the kind used for painting wood projects that come in bottles to the heavy body paints used for painting on canvas that come in tubes, plus Distress Oxides, regular Distress inks, Distress stains, other stamping inks, and alcohol inks. And to make impressions in the paint/ink, you can use a lot of things you have around your house including bubble wrap, plastic canvas, silicone hot pads…just about anything that has a texture. Plus stamps, of course. And stencils! I also already had lots of brayers in the house. I was ready to rumble!
So out of my first session with my Gel Press plate, I got this GORGEOUS result. Lookie:
I now know how Basic Grey, which used to be some of my favorite scrapbooking paper, got their artwork. I used some white card stock I had gotten doing design team work that I don’t even know what brand it is, so I figured it was the perfect thing to use. I also used a set I got as a prize from somewhere, Stampendous N*Studio Marks, which comes with a stencil, with the plate. I got so many deliciously grungy pieces out of this session, but this was one of my favorites so I decided to make cards of it. I used an 8 x 10 inch plate, so I cut this into four 4 x 5 pieces to make cards out of it. I learned a lot in the process. Like how most of my biggest stamps don’t fit on a 4 x 5 piece of paper. A 4 x 5-1/4″ piece would work way better. So maybe next time I should cut it in two 5 x 8 pieces and just choose an area that would be best.
Another thing I learned is that there is a lot of texture left behind in the printing process that will mess with any really solid images you might try to stamp on top of the print. Your stamp will just not be able to get down to the paper past the ridges left by acrylic paint being suctioned up as the print is being pulled off the plate. This is partly the paint I used. The thinner paints don’t do this so much. I used mostly Blick Studio Acrylics. I had bought myself a spanky new set of little tubes, but I also had random stray tubes of paint from other projects and tubes that my daughters had bought for projects for school.
Anyway, when stamping on top, sticking to line art works better if the surface of the print isn’t perfectly smooth. Any gaps in the image can be filled in with a pen. Or not. Sometimes that rough look really works.
Also, since acrylic paint is essentially plastic, using an ink that will dry on that is key. The first time, I used Versafine Onyx, which dried, but took longer than I liked. So the second time around, I used Stazon. Here’s the first card:
I used Technique Junkies new Rose Border stamp and added some color with a Distress Crayon, colored pencils, and gel pen to the flowers. I ended up spraying it with workable fixative to try to get things to stay put on the surface because, again, it’s plastic. I love the wonderfully grungy look of this card. And since I’ve been looking at my older Hero Arts greeting stamps, I grabbed my absolute favorite, Be Happy Every Day, adding a bit of washi tape and stapling the greeting on top.
For this card, I used the new Poppy Field stamp from Technique Junkies with another vintage Hero Arts stamp. This one I colored with colored pencils, but again, the pencil didn’t want to stay put. I tried some Distress Micro Glaze on top, but that really made the colored pencil smear around A LOT. I ended up wiping some of it away and then walking away overnight, hoping it would set up. It did, but I think I’ll go back to the workable fixative. I love the faded look over the grunge of the background!
I mounted both of these on some Papertrey Vintage Cream card stock that I’ve had kicking around forever on top of some fun foam for body. I love how these turned out. I have so many supplies and tools that will work perfectly for doing gel printing, and I’m mad now that I got rid of some of the stuff I used to have that would work well with it, like foam stamps, etc. Just another hobby that will encourage hoarding, right? Bwahahahah!
I know I’m going to have even more fun with this as time goes by. Stay tuned!
As usual, if you’re heading over to Technique Junkies to buy either of the stamps I used here, use my code, TJ10Jan to get 10%off.
Below is my list of products that I used, and I have used compensated affiliate links where they were available, as I now participate in affiliate programs for Simon Says Stamp, Amazon, Ellen Hutson LLC, Scrapbook.com, Gina K, My Favorite Things, Ranger Ink, Hero Arts, Joggles, My Sweet Petunia, and Blick Art Supplies. Buying through these links adds $0 to the cost of your purchase, but a small portion of the purchase price is remitted to me. It helps keep this blog open and me stamping. It’s a win/win/win!